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I have been looking for a certain sound from a reed but wanted advice first. I'm looking for a velvety kind of breathy warm sound. As I'm writing this I realize I should see what the best mouthpiece is for the job too. Right now I'm on a Yamaha 4c (what came with my Yamaha intermediate sop) and a V12 Vandoren, but it sounds too classical. All opinions are welcome.
 

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I'm not an expert, and more knowledgeable people will certainly chime in, but I would say for you to try a softer reed. Use the 4c mpc the same, but with softer reed and you won't need to focus so much the embouchure, because the reed will vibrate more freely and be able to do a more breathy sound with air going out of the mpc and mouth instead of all the air going to the mpc.
 

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Smooth jazz saxophonists don’t sound velvety or warm at all to me. I hear bright sounds bordering on shrill as the norm in the “smooth jazz” world.
 

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I have been looking for a certain sound from a reed but wanted advice first. I'm looking for a velvety kind of breathy warm sound. As I'm writing this I realize I should see what the best mouthpiece is for the job too. Right now I'm on a Yamaha 4c (what came with my Yamaha intermediate sop) and a V12 Vandoren, but it sounds too classical. All opinions are welcome.
Do you have an example of a player you want to sound like?
 

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I think the reed (and not the brand or strength . . . the one reed you find out of many) will make more difference than the mouthpiece, but what you are looking for will come from YOU and not your equipment.

Most of us have different reactions to mouthpieces - my mouthpiece will probably not give you the same sound that I produce on it. It is folly to suggest a mouthpiece and expect it to sound the same among different players. This is highly personal - the only way for you to find that certain mouthpiece is to seek it out yourself.

I used to use a variety of open-tip/soft-reed mouthpiece set-ups (and achieved a fairly warm tone with them). But then I switched to closer tips and moderately stronger reeds and got the same basic results.

Your 4C should do the trick. I think kreacher had the proper suggestion - go a bit softer on the reed, but not too much softer - it doesn't take much to make a difference. DAVE
 

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Try Hemke or Rico Orange box in the same strength as your Vandorens.
They're 'cheap' so if you don't like them you're not out much $$$.
 

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Smooth jazz saxophonists don’t sound velvety or warm at all to me. I hear bright sounds bordering on shrill as the norm in the “smooth jazz” world.
That's right, they sound bright. The kid needs something with a baffle but it sounds like he's not ready for it. I don't think a reed alone will do it and the 4C won't make it either, he needs a combination of both.
Phil Barone
 

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When you say smooth jazz sound do mean the kind of music Kenny G plays or are you just referring to a smooth sound in the straight ahead and swing jazz idiom like Stan Getz or Lester Young? Or are you referring to a sub-tone which is breathy? It's not clear to me what you're asking.
 

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The Yamaha 4c works for many players (not my favorite, but we are all different). In my 60+ years of playing soprano as a primary saxophone, I've learned that one reed can make a huge difference in how MY set-up works for me, both in tone and response. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think what I'm looking for is Kenny G's style but mixed with a kind of unpure airy sound. I had to play tenor for the first time a while a go in a parade and its middle notes like middle g a b c and d sounded kind of like what i'm looking for, yet that might have sounded that way do to my inexperience in tenor. A good example of what I'm looking for is Nora Jones vocals in I don't know why mixed with some slow Kenny G. I guess it also sounds the way I'm looking for if I move up to a harder reed and it sound airy for a little while before my embouchure adjusts. Does this make sense?

Let me also add that I'm on a 3 strength on my V12. Is this too hard for the softer reed advice that I got from kreacher?
 

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Yes. 'Softer reed' means softer than what you are currently using. ;)
 

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Inexpensive things to try: get a piece of 400 grit sandpaper, lay it flat, and lightly drag one of your #3 reeds over it three or four passes; try playing, repeat. Don't sand too much. (Some players sand new reeds like this to smooth them. Your goal is to thin one slightly.)

If that doesn't do it for you, try soaking that one or another used reed overnight in 1/2 mouthwash and water. A soaked reed can sound very different from one that is just moistened. (They taste better, too.)

I would find it very difficult to play soprano "breathy" with what you describe as a Nora Jones aspiration while maintaining pitch. On tenor most players can play a ballad like that, no matter the reed strength.
 

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I would find it very difficult to play soprano "breathy" with what you describe as a Nora Jones aspiration while maintaining pitch. On tenor most players can play a ballad like that, no matter the reed strength.
I wouldn’t say very difficult, but it takes some getting used to. Use a nice relaxed but CONSISTENT embouchure and a hard-ish reed, and think about blowing “through” the horn and the note- that’ll help settle the pitch considerably.


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We all know what you mean by the smooth, breathy sound. Glad you have a good sense of humor. Members are always very helpful, but do exhibit a Seinfeld show brutality at times. Have fun playing.
 
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